Take 5,000 square feet, 184 tomato plants, celery, basil and onions, add 150 hours of hard work and a lot of water and sunshine.

Cook it up in a community kitchen, freeze, then donate it to the local food bank.

That's Jill Van Horne's recipe for a spaghetti garden. She's the co-ordinator of Our Food Southeast, a Moncton food advocacy group.

As far as she knows, this is the only garden of its kind in the area, a space where everything is dedicated to spaghetti sauce destined for the food bank.

Jill Van Horne

Jill Van Horne loads a bag of onions from the sauce garden in Moncton. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

"This year we decided to go really big," Van Horne said.

The group has processed and frozen tomatoes before, but this is the first year it's grown a sauce garden.

Volunteers have donated about 150 hours of time to planting, tending and recently, picking, said Van Horne.

"So far I'd say we probably harvested 1,200 pounds of tomatoes."

And those tomatoes and the other ingredients from the garden have been taken to the Medavie Community Kitchen at the Peter McKee Community Food Centre. As the tomatoes ripen, they're made into sauce. The spaghetti sauce is frozen in one-litre bags and given to clients of the food bank.

Chantal Senecal, executive director at Food Depot Alimentaire, said initiatives like this help the food bank's dollars stretch farther.

Spaghetti sauce garden0:50

"Even if you're buying in bulk, you are paying up to $3 a can, and we have 1,400 families going through here in a month so the savings are huge and it's better."

Van Horne said the initiative was started to prove it can be done.

Working with volunteers from the United Way, with Moncton Headstart supplying the gardening and cooking know-how and the kitchen facilities supplied by the Peter McKee Community Food Centre, Van Horne said it goes to show hard work, and community spirit can go along way towards feeding people healthy food.